Buchanan Dam man found not guilty of manslaughter, other charges in fatal 2016 crash

EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON

Roland Edwin ‘Pete’ Greaves was killed in a July 2016 collision on Texas 71 in Llano County. Courtesy photo

Roland Edwin ‘Pete’ Greaves was killed in a July 2016 collision on Texas 71 in Llano County. Courtesy photo

A Llano County jury found a Buchanan Dam man not guilty on charges of manslaughter and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for a July 2016 vehicle collision that killed an 87-year-old man and severely injured a 58-year-old man.

Jason McCombs, 37, was driving a 2011 Lincoln SUV eastbound on Texas 71 on July 10, 2016, near the RR 2147 intersection when he crossed into the westbound lanes and collided with a 2005 Suzuki Aero driven by Perry Greaves, 58, of Brooklyn, New York.

The vehicles caught fire following the collision.

Perry Greaves’s father, Roland Edwin Greaves, 87, was a passenger in the Suzuki and died at the scene.

McCombs and Perry Greaves were injured in the crash and transported to Austin-area hospitals. Perry Greaves suffered severe injuries and, in August 2016, was transported to a Brooklyn hospital. He remains in a medical facility.

McCombs was indicted on the three charges: manslaughter and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The criminal trial started Oct. 9 in Llano, and, on Oct. 11, the decision was laid in the hands of a jury comprised of six men and six women. The body deliberated for about an hour and a half before returning with a verdict of not guilty on all counts, according to McCombs’s attorney, Austin Shell.

“It was a great relief to us, but the whole thing is so sad and tragic for the Greaves family,” Shell said.

Shell said the prosecution alleged that his client was using his cellphone the moments leading up to the crash.

“Police testified that they could reconstruct the scene and how Jason was in the incoming lane, but they had no reason why he was in the lane,” Shell said. “The only reason they could come up with was that he must have been on his cellphone.”

Pulling McCombs’s cellphone records, Shell countered that argument.

“I could show he wasn’t on his phone for the 37 minutes before the accident,” the defense attorney said. “This was just a tragic accident. That’s all it was.”

Shell pointed out to the jury that the stretch of road the crash took place on is “uneven, dangerous, and has a blind hill.” He went so far as to go out to the location, video the roadway, and enter the recording into evidence. After showing the video to the jury, he explained that, in the area of the blind hill, a car can disappear from view for five to seven seconds.

“I understand why the prosecution took this to trial, but it was just a tragic and brutal accident,” Shell added. “There was nothing criminal about it on my client’s part.”

Perry Greaves, an artist, had flown to the Austin area in July 2016 to assist his father with a number of household chores and errands, including driving, as the older man recovered from cataract surgery.

Greaves has a wife and son. He remains in a medical center, unable to speak or move. A GoFundMe account has been set up to assist the family with medical expenses.

Roland Greaves was buried with military honors on July 21, 2016, next to his wife, Patricia, at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

editor@thepicayune.com

4 Responses to “Buchanan Dam man found not guilty of manslaughter, other charges in fatal 2016 crash”

  1. Marcha says:

    Tragic accidents like this could so easily be prevented if drivers would learn to stay on their own side of the road. What’s so difficult to understand about a double line? When I moved up here from Houston, I expected to see my car insurance rates go down; they didn’t. I soon could see why, between deer and people in over-sized vehicles, many of which are pulling trailers, that far too often stray over the double line. I’ve never seen such sloppy drivers in my life. That double-line is not a “suggestion.”

  2. Anon says:

    Our Aunt moved here from Dallas and she has also said how rude and careless the drivers are around here compared to up there! Her insurance rates also increased significantly…

  3. Cindy Holt Reed says:

    Someone died. There should be punishment. Remorse should be expressed to the family. I couldn’t live with myself if I killed someone, no matter. I would spend the rest of my life being there for the victim’s family. Paying back for taking a life. My brother was killed by a distracted lady driver who turned left into his motorcycle. The lady got no punishment but a minor ticket for failure to yield the right away. She expressed no remorse to us. Her life continues. His does not. How can people be so heartless?
    BUT A man goes to jail for writing a hot check to feed his family. What is wrong when our state laws to let a killer go free?

  4. James says:

    Pretty scary when you have a grand jury pass an indictment like this with no evidence to support the seriousness of those crimes and only a cops belief that they were on a cell phone. Too much law enforcement corruption and abuse of power.

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